Military veterans reflect on fatherhood

Military veterans reflect on fatherhood
Front: Vernon Barefield, Bill Law, Cecil Carlton Back: Jack Parent, Ray Brinson, Neil Gehret, Dr. William Wooden, Wyman Hunt

From World War II to the Vietnam War era, eight men at Riverside Presbyterian House reflected on serving and fatherhood, offering up some advice that stands the test of time for today’s dads.

Front: Vernon Barefield, Bill Law, Cecil Carlton Back: Jack Parent, Ray Brinson, Neil Gehret, Dr. William Wooden, Wyman Hunt

Front: Vernon Barefield, Bill Law, Cecil Carlton
Back: Jack Parent, Ray Brinson, Neil Gehret, Dr. William Wooden, Wyman Hunt

A great-great grandfather, Cecil Carlton, served in the U.S. Army three years during the Korean War, then worked at Cecil Field for 32 years. When asked what he would share with young men today, Carlton said “Get a job in civil service. We had fantastic medical benefits.” The father of four, grandfather of 18 had this to say about fatherhood: “Don’t get married until you get out of the service, so that you can be with your kids when they need you.”

Neil Gehret served in WWII in the Army Air Force, as a pilot on a B-17. After the war he went back to a job as a controller for various manufacturing companies in south Florida. His advice? “Listen to each other, take care of things.” Gehret has seven children, 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Vernon Barefield and Ray Brinson both served in the Navy, had one son each, and have great-grandchildren, six for Barefield and seven for Brinson, who worked for the Jacksonville Fire Department for 20 years.

Bill Law served in the Infantry with the Army in WWII in Europe. He went back to teaching elementary school in Tennessee, then got a Master’s in social work, moving to Jacksonville in 1963, to work in counseling services. One child, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren later, Law shared “Patience is what I would advise; children have different needs and behaviors so you have to know how to advise them.” Spoken like a true teacher.

Jack Parent, served with Royal Canadian Air Force, and just moved to Jacksonville six months ago, having lived in Orlando for over 30 years, where he owned a company in the commercial and industrial laundry business. Like Noah, Parent had two each: children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “Live your dream while you can,” he advised.
Dr. William Wooden, a Jacksonville OB-GYN doctor, served in the Navy as a Corpsman during the Korean War, and, while assigned to the Battleship Iowa for training, held assignments locally. With two sons and a daughter, and several grandchildren, Dr. Wooden said fathers need to “set an example.” Coming from a risk-taker, whose hobbies included flying an airplane, riding a motorcycle, and cave-diving, may seem like “do as I say, not as I do” advice.

Wyman Hunt, administrator at Riverside Presbyterian House, boasts of four great-grandchildren, eight grandchildren, and three daughters, and served in the Army during the Vietnam War. From Augusta, GA, Hunt has been in Jacksonville seven years; after 30 years as a hospital administrator, Hunt has worked with five senior living, assisted living and independent living facilities. “You learn as you raise your children; I would recommend prioritizing your life as God, family, job, community service in that order,” he said.

“When you have an opportunity to be involved in one of your children’s activities, don’t miss it. It will never be repeated and they will always remember that you missed it.”

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...

You must be logged in to post a comment Login